How to tell new friends you have cancer, or when.

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When going on holiday the first thing you have on your mind is making the most of the trip away and having a great time. If you are on a group holiday you wonder what type of people will be on it, where they will be from and what they will be like, age/background/jobs/humour.

I have been on a number of holidays with different groups and my most recent trip to Morocco was probably the best blend. With 16 of us it was great how well we got along and I thought everyone was great, like connections from previous trips, Dominic, Cecia, Lykara and others I could name.

The biggest problem I had was whether to mention my incurable cancer or not. Many would think it’s a no brainer. You are meeting these people for the first time, why do you need to tell them anything personal? That’s right for the first few days, but after that it gets tricky.

My insistence on getting my blog up was a case in point. What’s it about? I got asked and flannelled a little bit. Another thing was why I was in the Essex newspapers (one of the chaps on the trip, Nigel, was a photographer for them, incidentally see http://spleniclymphoma.com/2014/08/17/a-different-article-in-the-halstead-gazette-dont-worry-its-the-last-for-a-while/  ) Its amazing how entwined with my life that my cancer has become. On the one hand all my long terms friends know, as do many acquaintances, but they have accepted it, or at least we don’t need to have that initial awkward conversation.

The big thing is still; How do you tell people about it? Also if you become good friends with them and add them to Facebook, they are bound to see anyway, so isn’t it easier to tell them? No matter how used to doing it I get there is never a good time to drop the C bomb on people. At dinner? Only if you want to kill the mood. On a walk? (Just going to drop it in?) Over breakfast, drinks? The other problem is when it comes up. When a situation comes in when you could mention your condition, it’s almost never the best time. Someone is talking about hospitals, you don’t want to wade in with it.

In India, people were talking about cancer they had. We were part of a (largely) older group, so it was pertinent. Even so I felt uncomfortable raising it and felt like it effectively finished the conversation. Partly because of my feelings on it being evident. It was still so raw and fresh for me.

Morocco was different as I am much more at peace with it, not least because of my good fortune of not needing treatment since diagnosis, and hopefully a good few years. I guess some of the group will see this, and I hope they understand why I didn’t tell them in person and why I am now in this blog. In many ways the blog still serves it’s original purpose for new friends, for example, see http://www.spleniclymphoma.com and my original mission statement. It’s hard to tell people you have cancer. Draining.  I suppose when you ‘re getting to know strangers and have moved past the first level (where are you from? What do you do? etc) you want to share things, as they do with you. This is a big thing for me, obviously. Still there is an element of worrying if it will change the group dynamic, or put a downer on things.

I guess it’s whatever the sufferer is comfortable with. For me it was easier to leave it until my return, as I do have this blog.  Please comment if you would like to, and for everyone on my trip, apologies about not being straight but also and especially thanks for a great time, it was a lot of fun.

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